After the Beach Salad with Low Fat Herbed Ranch Dressing

We’ve indulged, and now we want goodness that still tastes good. This ranch dressing recipe has no saturated animal fat, but tons of garden-fresh flavor and tang.

There are many days when all I crave is a beautiful green salad, especially if we’ve been out of town and eating less healthful than we should. Last week was our family vacation at the Maine coast; while we tried to be good, there had to be a lobster, oysters, “chowdah,” as well as a boat of luscious whole-belly fried clams! We indulge in our favorites, but it is always good to be home to our usual foods.

View from our hotel, Short Sands York Beach Maine.

I love all the summer lettuces, especially the crisp and tasty butterhead, and I always think it works perfectly with a ranch dressing. A love match. But even making my own from scratch, ranch dressing can be filled with calories, fat, and saturated fat as well.

Lighten up!

I’ve made my own ranch with silken tofu in the past, but experimented this time with yoghurt and mayonnaise. To lighten it up, it was fairly easy to swap out ingredients for this dressing, while still keeping the tang and creaminess. The abundance of herbs made this an easy process.

Simple swaps

Hellman’s Vegan Mayonnaise started the party off. It is billed as dressing and spread, and in some parts of the country is marketed as Best Foods. You can also use any favorite vegan mayonnaise. My favorite non-fat plain Greek yoghurt, Green Mountain Creamery, added the needed tang of a ranch dressing. A little vinegar, a little olive oil (it needed the extra fat), and tons of herbs filled out the rest of the ingredient list.

Always, make it your way

You know what you like in your summer salad, and it will change with the day and what is available. Right now, I have a hundred cherry tomatoes again, and the avocados are really buttery and delicious. As for the herbs in the dressing, parsley and dill are the most common to use, but I prefer parsley and tarragon as the main herbs. It’s just what I like. Garlic is always present, and usually some kind of onion. I like chives in this, but scallions would work well too. As always, use what you love best, or perhaps just what you happen to have on hand.

For a vegan version, swap out the yoghurt for a plain plant-based yoghurt and you’re there.

The dressing will bring any salad all together, with tons of flavor and without any guilt!

Low-Fat Herbed Ranch Dressing

  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ½ cup non-fat plain yoghurt, or plain plant yoghurt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened plant milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup minced flat leafed parsley
  • 1 tbsp. chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced tarragon, or dill
  • 1 tsp. minced thyme
  • Salt and pepper

            Place mayonnaise, yoghurt, milk, vinegar, olive oil, and garlic in a blender and process until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture is thicker than what you want.

            Add the herbs, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, process again, then taste and correct seasoning. You will probably need more salt and a lot more pepper.

Serve on the side so everyone can use what they like. If you have some beautiful edible flowers from the garden to garnish, even better!

This time around, I used butterhead lettuce, cherry tomatoes from my garden, creamy avocado, and a half cucumber.

© Copyright 2022– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with  active link and direction to this original post.

The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses. Ever.

On Instagram: New_Vintage_Kitchen

Supporter of:  Slow Food       Fair Trade USA       Northeast Organic Farmers Association     EcoWatch  

49 Comments Add yours

  1. Jovina Coughlin says:

    The salad looks very refreshing as well as delicious

    1. Thank you Jovian! It was just what we needed.

  2. Dorothy you knock it out of the park every time! Damn this looks good. Thanks for sharing the best ideas for eating in hot weather and durning those long languid days. Hugs, C

    1. Thank you Cheryl! It has been so hot and humid that since we no longer have the sea breeze we just want something light.

  3. Ronit says:

    Fresh green salad is always a treat, especially in the summer. This one looks so colorful and tasty. Love the large amount of herbs and yogurt in the dressing. 🙂

    1. Anonymous says:

      the dressing sounds delicious! I look forward to giving it a try!

      1. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

    2. Thanks Ronit! I don’t think you can put too many herbs in s dressing like this.

      1. Ronit says:

        So true! 🙂

  4. I hope you had a great time! I always enjoy a good salad after vacation 😉 and this looks beautiful and even more delicious with cherry tomatoes from your garden 😉 I love the dressing too! Beautiful view!

    1. Thank you! We had such a nice time, and perfect beach weather.

  5. Bernadette says:

    Dorothy, summer greens are the best and your dressing sounds delicious. I think it also would make a great dressing to serve with chicken wings. Just saying….

    1. Yes, it would be good on hot wings! I’ve had it on roasted veggies too, so good.

  6. NativeNM says:

    There are times when I crave a simple salad also. Making a good low fat ranch dressing to go on it is even better. Happy for you getting away for a few days, Maine sounds like a wonderful place to travel this time of year!

    1. It was great Jan! Sea breezes, great food, and family, the best!

  7. Gail says:

    Dorothy, your version of Ranch Dressing gets my vote. Now I can have more! 😍🍃😋

  8. Nancy Richy says:

    Those views are spectacular! How your long-awaited vacation was/is all you hoped it would be! 🌟

    1. It was, just a little too short as always Nancy!

      1. Nancy Richy says:

        Vacations are never long enough!

  9. Ally Bean says:

    I like your idea of putting some oil and vinegar into this dressing. I never thought of that but will try it soon. Thanks.

    1. Because I didn’t use a buttermilk, it needed that little extra tang from the vinegar to boost the yoghurt, and it also needed some fat!

  10. Jenna says:

    There’s nothing better than a salad after a few days of over indulgence! The dressing sounds divine~

    1. Absolutely agree! Our bodies know what they need.

  11. I love making my own ranch, especially with Greek yogurt, but I’ve never tried with vegan mayo before. I like that twist, will give it a try. Thanks for your ideas, this sounds so good!!

    1. Thanks! I hope you like it. Just a different twist, it’s really all about the herbs.

  12. Nancy says:

    Well, this is perfect for these hot summer days.
    Your vacation sounded amazing!

    1. We had so much fun Nancy, who doesn’t love the beach. I have to slather in #30 sunblock and wear a hat, but it’s al good!

  13. Amanda says:

    Very nice swap outs Dorothy. With the avocadoes in season here now, this combination dressing is a winner for me with all the flavours like parsely and dill, that I love to use!

    1. Such a good combination, and finally the avocados are good! It was a dismal guessing game for a while.

  14. Looks mighty tasty!

    1. Thanks Judy! We like it!

  15. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I have been stumped on how to make vegan dressing, soy free.

    1. Hope you enjoy this, we all love it, even the husband!

      1. Jessica says:

        Thank you.

  16. nancyc says:

    Love Ranch dressing, especially low fat ones like this! That looks like a wonderful salad, too! 🙂

    1. Thanks Nancy! It really hit the spot after eating so much rich food.

  17. My daughter and grandkids eat ranch dressing on everything! What a yummy recipe Dorothy!

    1. Thanks Diane! It is Grandmother Guilt Free, but don’t tell the kids!

  18. terrie gura says:

    Your low fat version is a nice way to ease back into reality after indulging. I’m not sure which picture is prettier at the end of your post– the gorgeous salad or the beautiful night shot overlooking the water. I’m so glad you had a relaxing getaway! 🙂

    1. Thanks Terrie, it’s always good to just unplug from everything and take it easy. Oh, and eat!

  19. Anonymous says:

    That Ranch dressing sounds sensational with the herbs in it! I’ve been having more salads lately in the hot weather.

    1. Thank you! Sometimes it is all we want, isn’t it!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love this dressing especially when snagging on veggies

    1. Thanks! It’s one of those dressings that kids love and it helps them enjoy their veggies.

  21. Americaoncoffee says:

    I have never enjoyed Tofu in salads but your recipe sounds like a new exciting twist!

    1. It’s all about the dressing!

Please leave your valued comment here...